The world of startups can be daunting. There are millions of entrepreneurs who venture into the unknown each year with their small businesses. Unfortunately, only a few succeed and grow into profitable enterprises.
According to one estimate, around 543,000 U.S. small businesses started each month in 2013, but more businesses closed than opened in that span. To beat the odds and make sure your startup survives and thrives, there are a few secrets you should know to help you avoid the pitfalls you could fall into.
Here are our 5 secrets every startup should know:
1.) Avoid the “Passion Trap”
Many entrepreneurs launch their startups with a product they have invested a ton of time and effort into. That time and emotional commitment can lead to what author John Bradberry calls the “Passion Trap.”
This trap can lead mostly sound entrepreneurs to overestimate their customer base, overlook needed pivots in product marketing or design, and create more issues that can torpedo their businesses.
To counteract the “passion trap,” entrepreneurs should keep a sober view of their services and products. A successful startup requires strategic thought on who the customers are and what they need.
2.) Maintain flexibility
When your startup goes online, you will be entering a competitive marketplace with shifting demands. That’s why it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to maintain their flexibility and be prepared to go where the market takes them.
As entrepreneurs first start out, the best-laid plans can often fall short in practice. If your marketing and advertising strategies aren’t working, be prepared to invest in new opportunities to sell your business.
That flexibility extends to your role in your startup and the team you work with. Be prepared to reconsider your strategy, but stay true to yourself and your mission statement.
3.) Find the right people
While many startups begin with one employee – you – finding the right people to take your business idea to the next level is crucial.
Identify coworkers who understand the challenges of running a startup and are willing to work through difficult conditions to a common goal.
4.) Research your Audience
Any successful product relies on a stable and identifiable customer base. For a startup, having your finger on the pulse of who those customers are and what they want is necessary.
Before, during and after your roll out, constantly keep your focus on the customers. There are a number of online marketing tools that can help you better identify customers and reach them.
As your relationship with your customers grows, your sales will too.
5) Don’t be discouraged
While startups fail for any number of reasons, a lack of commitment from entrepreneurs can be the death knell for an otherwise successful business.
Your startup relies on a combination of your amazing product or service, the right team and your commitment to making it work. Don’t let the fluctuations of the first few months or years discourage you from success.
Most entrepreneurs will tell you that success starts within. Work hard, stick to the fundamentals and watch your business grow.